|My assigned Jump Master, Brent, checked over my gear and we headed for the airplane and climbed in. I felt better once Brent hooked up his harness to mine. We novices do a tandem jump, which means that we and an assigned Jump Master share the same parachute. Before we knew it we were off the ground. We saw many points of interest on the way up such as Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, Eldorado Valley and Boulder City. The mood was carefree and intense at the same time. Very soon I watched the first jumpers kneel at the door and, one by one, tumble from the plane. After each jumper exited, the plane lifted up a little because of the weight loss to the aircraft. I started to wonder how I would feel when I got closer to the door. Will I panic…Will I freeze… Will I get sick… Then I was next. At the plane door, I looked at the horizon first, then forward to the plane’s wing, the engine, then aft to the tail. Why were we waiting? Were we stuck in the door? Just as I looked down I found myself tumbling through the sky. In just a few seconds Brent tapped my shoulder to signal for me to put my arms out and go into the “banana position.”
Then the freefall. Total freedom. The only time in life there are no walls, no ceilings, no floor. We rotated around to view Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, the Colorado River… four states at once. As I fell at a rate of 120 MPH, it felt like time had stopped. There was no feeling of falling… just flying! I dreamt of flying as a kid, and this was how it really felt. I have flown in F-15 and F-16 aircraft in the military, and I used to think that was flying.
Just as I was feeling comfortable with the freefall, I suddenly felt like I was a carrot being pulled out of the ground; something pulled us back up into the air. The parachute opened and we went from lying on our bellies to hanging upright with our feet pointing towards the ground.
The jump turned into a whole new world of adventure, like standing on air, hanging in mid-air and looking at the world. I saw the other jumpers and we flew right over the top of one of them. It came time for me to control the parachute. The new parachutes have two controls to steer them, pull the right lever to turn right and the left to turn left. So I pulled the right one down and the left one up and started to spin down.
I watched the other jumpers land and I was the last one to come in. As we got near the landing area Brent pulled both control levers at the same time to slow down our speed for a soft landing. As I stood there looking into the sky thinking about what had just happened, Mike came out to greet us. I have to say he was right. It is hard to tell a story about skydiving until you try it for yourself. This experience is now at the top of my list of greatest adventures. I wrote in the log where people from all over the world sign their name and comments, and I only put one word... WOW!